Blogs, Journalism, and Joe Wilcox’s dream world

So, did you hear the one about a next generation Apple iPhone being left behind in a bar?

Probably, since the story has being running rampant in the tech blogosphere for a few days now and has even made it to mainstream media’s news cycle. Of course there is a whole bunch of different stories floating around about just how Gizmodo acquired the phone. Some reports have it down as buying it from someone who found it and others are being less kind saying that the gadget blog knowingly purchased stolen property.

It is this last one that has a bunch of blogger pontificating about how wrong Gizmodo was and that Apple should sue them or that they should be charged with being in procession of stolen property. Mind-numbingly though there are a bunch of bloggers who seem to think that Gizmodo was wrong for buying the next generation iPhone regardless of how it was obtained and compounded that lapse of ethics buy reporting on it extensively.

Just for the record anyone, blogger or journalist, who tries to frame this in some sort of journalistic ethics failure is a frikken idiot.Period.

The worst of these dribbling diatribes though has to be a post earlier today by Joe Wilcox over at Betanews. He starts his post off with this gem

Gizmodo was wrong to acquire a lost iPhone prototype — quite likely a nearly finished version 4 design — let alone pay to obtain it. Perhaps this marks the distinction between bloggers and journalists. I would have contacted Apple about returning a device so obviously stolen.

WTF?!? … Look any blogger or journalist who says that they wouldn’t write about some prototype gadget from any company, including Apple, that fell into their lap whether they had to pay for it or not is a liar. I would be willing that any blogger or journalist would give anything short of their first born and borrow whatever was needed if they didn’t have the money on hand in order to write about something like this – especially if it is an Apple prototype. To say otherwise is facetious and bullshit.

However Joe goes on to add – still in the first paragraph of his bang yer head against the wall post

There is grave difference between obtaining secret information for the public good and what Gizmodo did: Obtain property containing trade secrets belonging to a public company. Gizmodo has violated the public trust and broken the law. Free speech isn’t a right to pay freely for something clearly stolen.

Stop.Now.Get a fucking grip.

Do you not think that this was not run through some highly paid lawyers? Seriously. We are talking about Gizmodo here folks. The tech gadget blog owned by Gawker Media which is owned by Nick Denton. Do you seriously propose that publishing something as huge as this is wasn’t run through a gauntlet of lawyers?

Like I said get a grip.

To suggest that the New York Times or Washington Post or any other newspaper wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing if provided the opportunity is totally ridiculous. They would have done the same thing – run it through their lawyers, paid the money, and run with the story.

I’m not going to argue the belabored point of whether Gizmodo knew whether it was stolen or not that is for the law of where it happened to decide; but again I point to the fact that there is no way this happened without being vetted by Gawker lawyers. What I do find almost reprehensible is the framing of the old and tired argument that actions like this are the purview of those in their parent’s basement bloggers and that true journalists would never stoop this low.

Get off your high horse Joe.

Any journalist, or blogger, worth their salt would have run with this story – especially if if cleared by expensive lawyers. It is literally a story for the history books and if you tell me that any journalist or blogger – you included Joe – would pass on that opportunity then you are deluded.

image courtesy of Gizmodo